Frequently Asked Questions, Sustainable Building

How To Achieve A Beautiful Tadelakt Lime Plaster Finish Using The Ecologic™ Plaster System

A Brief Overview of Tadelakt

Tadelakt is not a term many in the United States may have heard before. It literally means to “rub-in,” which refers to the last step of rubbing in a solution of black soap made from the oil of black olives or by using hemp soap and then burnishing the soap into curing surface of the plaster while it is still setting up. This technique gives the plaster a water-resistant sheen and a luster of provincial beauty.

This meticulous form of plastering, known as Tadelakt, was used for millennia in Morocco to make baths, sinks, walls, and water-holding containers. Very recently, Tadelakt has caught on in the US as a hot application for shower installations. You can see why this is a desired finish from the beautiful results that can be achieved.

Here are some examples of what a Tadelakt shower application looks like


Using Lime Plaster to create a Tadelakt Finish

Last summer our resident plastering instructor and installation technician, Gene Lakin, demonstrated how to tadelakt using our Ecologic™ Lime Plaster System to create a lime plaster finish that is both beautiful and functional. Gene created a breathable Tadelakt finish for walls using wooden lath, burlap, pure castille oil soap with a four-coat plaster installation.

Wood lath would not be suggested for inside shower walls as the substrate to build upon. If you need the full set of instructions on how to accomplish the proper waterproof background that will receive a Tadelakt finish in a shower stall or want to add doing Tadelakt to the professional services you offer just contact us. With our Ecologic™ Plaster System, you can create Tadelakt shower finishes, interior wall finishes, and much more!

Wood Lath
Step 1:

Wood Lath was used to promote a breathable system for the tadelakt to adhere to.

Premixed Lime Plaster
Step 2:

Mixed Ecologic™ TAKCOAT™ Platinum

Lime Plaster on Lath
Step 3:

First coat of Ecologic™ TAKCOAT™ Platinum over wood lath.

Lime Plaster on Lath
Step 4:

Install Ecologic™ PLASTER TOPCOAT™ Platinum Coarse Sand Grade (G) to the surface of the Base coat of Ecologic™ TAKCOAT™ Platinum and then scarify the surface in a cross-hatch pattern to prepare the surface before the next coat using Ecologic™ PLASTER TOPCOAT™ Platinum Fine Sand Grade (F)

How to Tadelakt
Step 5:

Install the third coat of Ecologic™ PLASTER TOPCOAT™ Platinum Fine Sand Grade (F) and smooth it out with a wood float

Devil Float
Step 6:

Wood "Devil float" for scratching the surface of the mortar to prepare it for the final extra-fine finishing coat.

How to Tadelakt
Step 7:

Prepared Ecologic™ PLASTER TOPCOAT™ Platinum (F) -Sand Grade (Fine) surface ready for the final coat.

Pigmented Lime Plaster
Step 8:

Mixing of the the pigmented Ecologic™ PLASTER TOPCOAT™ (XF) Exterior* -Sand Grade (Xtra-fine) using a collomix mixer.

*(Custom colored Ecologic™ PLASTER TOPCOAT™ Platinum (XF) Interior is adequate for all interior work including inside shower stalls. The XF Exterior Gene used was to demonstrate what could be put in service above the water table level of an exterior application if that were required.)

How to Tadelakt
Step 9:

Applying pigmented Ecologic™ PLASTER TOPCOAT™ (XF) Exterior -Sand Grade (Xtra-fine) over scratched Ecologic™ PLASTER TOPCOAT™ (F) Fine-sanded plaster

How to Tadelakt
How to Tadelakt
Step 10:

In a special test, Gene installed two coats of Ecologic™ PLASTER TOPCOAT™ (XF) Exterior with a burlap sheet laid between the two layers. The burlap was added in this instance to reduce cracking due to anticipated building movement for an Exterior tadelakt application. Burlap is not needed for interior work unless it is part of a decorative finish.

(Wood lath and burlap are not recommended for showers. Contact us for installation instructions in shower stalls)

Step 11:

To add depth and beauty to the application Gene applied a smear coat of unpigmented Ecologic™ PLASTER TOPCOAT™ (XF) Exterior -Sand Grade (Xtra-fine) for this Exterior application.

Step 12:

After the smear coat, Gene added a final pigmented coat of Ecologic™ TOPCOAT™ XF Exterior.

Castille Hemp Soap
Step 13:

Finally, a solution of Pure Castille Hemp Soap was weighed out and worked into the topcoat of plaster with a polished palm stone.

The Finished Product
Interested in taking a hands-on training class for Tadelakt?

Fill out the interest form below and we will contact you with more details.

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2 thoughts on “How To Achieve A Beautiful Tadelakt Lime Plaster Finish Using The Ecologic™ Plaster System

  1. Chung Lau says:

    I’m interested in Tadelyte onto shower wall and floor, if the budget and performance is good for DIY I will do same on dry hallway, door entrance and kitchen

    1. Allison says:

      Hi Chung, thanks for your comment. A team member will be reaching out to your shortly to discuss your project, and help answer any questions you may have.

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